There is Still Hope

2013-04-07 14.29.59 Hope can sometimes seem a bit of a wishy-washy sentiment, almost as if we’re not sure, so we have to hope.  ‘I hope it will be a sunny day’, ‘I hope you like it’, or ‘I hope we win’ – a feeling of optimism, but with a large dose of uncertainty.

But the dictionary says it is also confidence and trust. In Christian terms it is all about God – and him being the one who absolutely can change things – and me.  One in whom we can put our faith and trust and can rely on.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (CEV)

A Real Reason for Hope

Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on. God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.

You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day. Then he will save you, just as he has always planned to do. On that day you will be glad, even if you have to go through many hard trials for a while. Your faith will be like gold that has been tested in a fire. And these trials will prove that your faith is worth much more than gold that can be destroyed. They will show that you will be given praise and honor and glory when Jesus Christ returns.

You have never seen Jesus, and you don’t see him now. But still you love him and have faith in him, and no words can tell how glad and happy you are to be saved. That’s why you have faith.

1 Peter tells us that we can have the hope because Jesus rose from the dead.  When everything appeared lost and gone, God had still won.  Death could not defeat Jesus and his life.  Hope lives on.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will be suddenly come right, or rather how we would like it.  It does mean that God is in life with us.

Neither is hope just about “pie in the sky when you die”.  Hope can be a reality lived out in our lives day by day, something to cling on to.  If we have faith in him, we have hope, hope in all he can and will do.

As people of hope, we have the power of God with us.  Not super, zapping power, a super-hero slaying all before us; but the power of the one who’s been there done that with us.  The power of Almighty God who sees and knows everything, way better than any of us; the God who walks with us day by day, through all life’s joys and traumas, right to the end; the God who saves us from ourselves and all that life throws at us; the one who makes a difference, right here, right now.

That is the hope we have, not a wishy-washy longing, but a firm confidence in the one who has died, but is risen.

He Has Risen

 

Thank you Lord
that you shared all that life is
as you walked the human life.
Thank you
that now you are risen,
you continue to walk with us.

Thank you for being my hope,
my certainty,
my power in adversity
day by day,
and my promise
of all that is to come

The Best Choice

Thanks to @watfordgap for taking this pic for me
Thanks to @watfordgap for taking this pic for me

Psalm 16 (CEV)

(A special psalm by David.)

The Best Choice

16 Protect me, Lord God!
    I run to you for safety,
and I have said,
    “Only you are my Lord!
    Every good thing I have
    is a gift from you.”

Your people are wonderful,
    and they make me happy,
    but worshipers of other gods
    will have much sorrow.
I refuse to offer sacrifices
of blood to those gods
    or worship in their name.

You, Lord, are all I want!
    You are my choice,
    and you keep me safe.
You make my life pleasant,
    and my future is bright.

I praise you, Lord,
    for being my guide.
Even in the darkest night,
    your teachings fill my mind.
I will always look to you,
    as you stand beside me
    and protect me from fear.
With all my heart,
I will celebrate,
    and I can safely rest.

10 I am your chosen one.
You won’t leave me in the grave
    or let my body decay.
11 You have shown me
    the path to life,
    and you make me glad
    by being near to me.
Sitting at your right side,
    I will always be joyful.

You’re the best choice Lord,
the only choice

The Path of Life

Been There, Done That

The Risen Christ

You had lost your friend, your mentor, the one you believed was going to change not just your world, but the whole word.  You had watched him be arrested, falsely accused, face a sham trial, and be hung up on a cross until he died.

And just as you were beginning to come to terms with this, to realise that your hopes were dashed and your friend gone, something even more life-changing happens – his body was not there, indeed he was no longer dead.  What is this all about?

Peter sets out to explain.

Acts 2:14a, 22-32 (CEV)

Peter Speaks to the Crowd

14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

22 Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this.23 God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. 24 But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.25 What David said are really the words of Jesus,

“I always see the Lord
    near me,
and I will not be afraid
    with him at my right side.
26 Because of this,
    my heart will be glad,
my words will be joyful,
    and I will live in hope.
27 The Lord won’t leave me
    in the grave.
I am his holy one,
and he won’t let
    my body decay.
28 He has shown me
    the path to life,
and he makes me glad
    by being near me.”

29 My friends, it is right for me to speak to you about our ancestor David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is still here. 30 But David was a prophet, and he knew that God had made a promise he would not break. He had told David that someone from his own family would someday be king.

31 David knew this would happen, and so he told us that Christ would be raised to life. He said that God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay. 32 All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!

God has set him free from death.  That is never going to hold his son and his life.  But this means something really powerful to those who follow him.  The death, and especially the resurrection, shows, not just the power of God, but his love and care for us.  Because Jesus died and has risen, God is with us.  He doesn’t leave us, even in the grave.  We have hope, the hope of God who is beyond death.  There continues to be nowhere that we can go where Jesus hasn’t been – and hasn’t brought new life.

Yes, the grave is a reality of life, but it is a place Jesus has been and brings his life.  Because he has risen, he continues to be alongside us in all we face, day by day.  In our joys, but also in our struggles, our pain, our desolation, our confusion, our disappointments, and in those oh so ordinary days.

That is what watching his friend die, totally unwarranted, meant to Peter, what brought him hope.  It continues to be that hope for me today, and it can be for each of us.

Jesus knows everything we go through.  He lived every human emotion himself.  Unlike us, he has been there, done that – and come back again, but he continues to stand alongside in absolutely everything our life contains.  He is my hope, the one that keeps me going, because I know he knows.  And for that I thank God.

In Christ Alone

And if that all seems a bit ‘me’, maybe it is.  Because we have to know where we are, what God means, before we can begin to tell others.